Adolescents in Ghana have called on government to establish a factory to manufacture sanitary pads in order for the vulnerable adolescents in the country to easily afford it.
The adolescents made the call at a two-day forum which was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for adolescents drawn from across the length and breadth of the country to gather in Accra. The forum was dubbed, “Adolescents’ Learning Forum, Legislators and Delegates Conference.”
The Young Adolescent Boys and Girls were opportuned to meet up Members of Parliament on the second day for mentoring and intergenerational discussions on issues affecting them.
Making good use of the opportunity given them, they cried out to the members of Parliament that, as legislators and as representatives of their constituents, they should convey their plea to the President H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, to establish a factory to manufacture sanitary pads for them. This according to the adolescents, is one major key to curbing adolescent pregnancy in the country.
They explained that, due to the high cost of sanitary pads in the country, they can’t afford it, so they’re some times forced to fall prey to men in order to get some money to buy sanitary pads.
Some of them also mentioned the fact that high taxes doesn’t enable local manufacturers to produce more at a standardised prices for the ordinary Ghanaian female to buy. Sanitary pads they used to buy between Gh7 to Gh10 few months ago, is now ranging between Gh15 and Gh25. Since many of these young girls cannot afford it, they’re forced to give in to men’s sexual exploits.
They however underscored the need for the establishment of a local manufacturing company to do mass production of the sanitary pads at an affordable prices for them.
Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe, the Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender, also underscored the need for a collaborative effort to curb Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and child marriage issue in the country.
She emphasized that, Child marriage has remained one of the pervasive human rights abuses that deprives children, especially the girl child from enjoying a safe and meaningful childhood.
She said, “The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has a five year framework to address adolescent pregnancy. Under that framework, we all have a path to play. Then we also have another framework to address child marriage from 2017 to 2026. I just want to speak about a few of the things we are doing with UNFPA. One of the pillars is to empower young girls to take informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Our mentorship program in 2017, has enabled many of the girls across the country who are making strides. We have about two girls who are currently in holy child, one has completed, and another girl from domenase in the central region is also currently in Wesley Girls. So that is just a little bit of what this mentorship program has done for some of our girls.”
“One major challenge that is currently driving teenage pregnancy from all the discussions we’ve had with the girls, is sanitary pads. The cost of sanitary pad is leading a lot of them into the hands of men, and are getting pregnant just because of a natural thing that they don’t have control over and some of them it’s because they cannot afford it. So I’m hoping that this afternoon, even as we have a discussion, we’ll be looking at that. Second is violence against these young ones. Some are being abused, and when they are abused, we are not able to support them medically. Because currently, we have a domestic violence fund but there is no money in it. So I put this to the members of Parliament as we are fortunately discussing budget. And so we should be looking at how to support the victims of domestic violence by looking at the budget critically and ensuring that money is allocated to address issues of domestic violence in the country.”
About 47 members of the Parliamentary Gender Committee and other partners were present to interact with the adolescents to provide mentorship. The engagement however gave the Parliamentarians better understand on the issues affecting adolescent girls.
Chairman of the Gender committee, Hon. Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, who is also the Member of Parliament for Wa Central constituency in the Upper West Region, indicated their willingness to join the fight against teenage pregnancy and child marriage in Ghana.